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LEAP OF FAITH Opening in Los Angeles Brings Out Hollywood’s Brightest Stars

“A fusion of wonderful songs, and a wealth of powerful, honest performances,

equals a two-and-a-half-hour tent revival that gets crowds clapping in their seats.” – Downtown News

HOLLYWOOD’S BRIGHTEST STARS TURN OUT FOR

THE WORLD PREMIERE OF

RAÚL ESPARZA & BROOKE SHIELDS IN

LEAP OF FAITH

CLICK HERE TO WATCH AN OPENING NIGHT VIDEO FEATURE

NOW PLAYING AT CTG/AHMANSON THEATRE THRU OCTOBER 24

Hollywood’s brightest stars turned out to see the opening night of four-time Tony Award-nominee Raúl Esparza and Golden Globe Award-nominee Brooke Shields in the world premiere of the new musical LEAP OF FAITH at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

The opening night celebrity list included Angela Bassett, Julie Bowen, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ty Burrell, David Burtka, Lolita Davidovich, Wanda De Jesus, Brooke Elliott, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Erica Gimpel, Harry Groener, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Henchy, Ricky Jay, Erik King, Adriane Lenox, Mario Lopez, Eric McCormack, Katy Mixon, Matthew Morrison, Valarie Pettiford, Priscilla Presley, Lara Pulver, Garry Shandling, Jimmy Smits, Abigail Spencer, Eric Stonestreet, Susan Sullivan, Russ Tamblyn, Courtney B. Vance, Ben Vereen, Lisa Vidal, Vanessa A. Williams, Vanessa L. Williams.

CLICK HERE to watch the opening night video feature.

Check out the links below for opening night coverage:

o   Los Angeles Times – “Matthew Morrison, Neil Patrick Harris and ‘Modern Family’ cast at Leap of Faith opening”

o   Playbill.com – “Matthew Morrison, Neil Patrick Harris, Eric Stonestreet and More Attend Leap of Faith Opening”

o   TheaterMania.com – “PHOTO FLASH: Raul Esparza, Neil Patrick Harris, Mario Lopez, Matthew Morrison, Brooke Shields, Eric Stonestreet, Vanessa Williams and More at Leap of Faith Opening”

o   ExtraTV.com – “Brooke Shields takes Leap of Faith

o   BroadwayWorld.com – “Photo Flash: LEAP OF FAITH Opening Night”

And, here’s what the critics are saying:

LEAP OF FAITH DELIVERS A SOLID EVENING OF MUSICAL THEATER.” – Entertainment Weekly

ALAN MENKEN HAS COME UP WITH HIGH-SPIRITED SONGS, many of them heavily gospel tinged. “Rise Up” and “Leap of Faith” are as rollicking as any holy-rolling revival circuit music you’ve ever heard. Director-choreographer Rob Ashford brings his usual clarity to this debut production and Raúl Esparza can deliver a soul-baring song like few other Broadway performers.” – Orange County Register

“Brooke Shields’ nononsense normality offers welcome counterbalance to Raúl Esparza’s fireworks. Pretty enough to attract a drifter’s eye but ordinary enough to be plausibly stuck in Sweetwater. She carries off her lovely letmebe ballad “Long Past Dreamin’” with PLAINTIVE CONVICTION. Raúl Esparza gives a GALVANIZING STAR TURN – Variety

BROOKE SHIELDS WOWS THEATRE PUNTERS. Four-time Tony Award-nominee Raúl Esparza is SPELLBINDING as the motormouth minister from start to finish. And if all that isn’t enough choir leader Kendra Kassebaum’s vocals RATTLE THE RAFTERS during every number.” – News of the World

RAÚL ESPARZA’S PERFORMANCE IS BRILLIANTLY ACTED AND SUNG – allowing the four-time Tony nominee to exhibit the full range of his considerable talent.” – Hollywood Reporter

ALAN MENKEN KNOWS HOW TO STIR UP THE AUDIENCE WITH SPIRITUAL MUSIC. The gospel songs make you want to leap to your feet and clap out loud, particularly “Step Into the Light,” “Rise Up,” and “If Your Faith is Strong Enough.” RAÚL ESPARZA GIVES AN ICONIC PERFORMANCE as preacher man-con artist Jonas Nightingale.” – TheaterMania.com

Based on the Steve Martin movie and featuring a score by eight-time Academy Award-winner Alan Menken, book by Janus Cercone with Glenn Slater, and lyrics by Glenn Slater, LEAP OF FAITH stars Raúl Esparza as Reverend Jonas Nightingale, the consummate flim-flam man, and Brooke Shields as Marva, the beautiful small-town woman and single mother who challenges everything Jonas believes in.

Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford is the director and choreographer.

When his traveling ministry breaks down in a small Kansas town, part-time reverend and full-time con artist (Esparza) quickly pitches a tent and invites the locals to a revival. The sheriff is determined to stop Jonas from separating the townspeople from their money, but Jonas’ real challenge arises when he meets a pretty waitress (Shields) and her son, whose love forces an ultimate cynic to take a real leap of faith.

The new musical is based on the motion picture LEAP OF FAITH produced by Paramount Pictures Corporation and written by Janus Cercone.

LEAP OF FAITH is the first production in Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre’s 2010-2011 season at the Los Angeles County Music Center.

Tickets for LEAP OF FAITH are available by calling Center Theatre Group Audience Services at (213) 972-4400, in person at the Center Theatre Group box office or on-line at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.  Hot Tix at $20 each can be purchased in advance or, subject to availability, on the day of performance at the box office (no checks). Groups: (213) 972-7231. Deaf community: Information & charge, TDD (213) 680-4017.

For further information on LEAP OF FAITH, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Leap.

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